Andrew

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Greek
Meaning: “of man, belonging to man.”

The name is derived from the Greek Ανδρεασ (Andreas), which is derived from the Greek word, ανδροσ (andros), a genitive form of the word, ανηρ (aner), meaning, “man.” Hence, it would rougly translate to mean “belonging to man” or “of man.”

It was popularized by one of the twelve Apostles, who is now considered a popular Christian saint. It is suggested that Andreas was a nickname given to him, or possibly just a direct Greek translation of a Hebrew name that had a similar meaning, now lost to history.

Saint Andrew is considered the patron saint of Scotland, Russia, Greece and Romania. According to legend, he was martyred around the Black sea on an X shaped cross. His designated name-day is November 30.

The name has remained a staple in the U.S. top 100. As of 2011, he was the 16th most popular male name. His rankings and his various incarnations in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Andrei, Romania, 2009)
  • # 3 (Andrea, Italy, 2010)
  • # 3 (Andrea, Italian-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 6 (Andreas, Estonia, 2011)
  • # 8 (Andria, Georgia, 2011)
  • # 8 (Andrej, Serbia, 2011)
  • # 9 (Andrey, Russia BabyCenter, 2011)
  • # 10 (Ondřej, Czech Republic, 2011)
  • # 10 (Andre/Andrew/Andrea/Andrei, Malta, 2011)
  • # 12 (Andreas, Norway, 2011)
  • # 25 (András, Hungary, 2011)
  • # 28 (Andreas, Denmark, 2011)
  • # 35 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 38 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 39 (Andrej, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 41 (Andraž, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 46 (Andreas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 57 (Andrija, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 58 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 61 (Andres, Spain, 2010)
  • # 68 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 70 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 92 (Andrej, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 98 (Andro, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 98 (Anders, Norway, 2011)
  • # 176 (Andres, United States, 2011)
  • # 241 (André, United States, 2011)
  • # 244 (Andrea, France, 2010)
  • # 388 (Andreas, France, 2010)
  • # 950 (Anders, United States, 2011)

Other forms are as follows (listed alphabetically by linguistic origin).

  • Andrees/Andries (Afrikaans/Old Dutch)
  • Andrea (Albanian/Italian)
  • Ndreu (Albanian)
  • Andreyas (Amharic)
  • Andraws/Andraous اندراوس (Arabic/Coptic/Lebanese/Syriac)
  • Andreas (Armenian/Czech/Estonian/German/Greek/Hungarian/Slovak/Scandinavian)
  • Andresu (Asturian)
  • Ander (Basque)
  • Anderl (Baverian)
  • Andrièu (Bearnais/Occitanian/Provencal)
  • Andrivet (Bearnais)
  • Andrej Андрэй (Belarusian)
  • Andreo/Andrev (Breton)
  • Andrei/Andrey Андрей (Bulgarian/Old Church Slavonic/Romanian/Russian/)
  • Andrejko (Bulgarian)
  • Andreu (Catalan/Aragonese)
  • Andria ანდრია (Corsican/Georgian/Sardinian)
  • Andrej (Croatian/Czech/Slovak/Slovene)
  • Andrija (Croatian/Serbian)
  • Andro/Jandre (Croatian)
  • Ondřej (Czech)
  • Anders (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Dres/Dreves/Drevs (Danish)
  • Andries/Adrees (Dutch)
  • Andres (Estonian)
  • Ando/Andre/Andro/Andrus/Andu/Andi/Anti (Estonian)
  • Andras/Andrias (Faroese)
  • Andriou (Fijian)
  • Antero/Tero (Finnish)
  • Antti (Finnish)
  • Andris/Driess (Frisian)
  • André (French/Galician/Ladino/Portuguese)
  • Dria (Genevoese: Dialectical Italian form)
  • Anda (German: dialectical form, Northern Austria)
  • Anekelea (Hawaiian)
  • Andor/András/Endre (Hungarian)
  • Andris (Hungarian/Latvian)
  • Andrés (Icelandic/Spanish)
  • Aindréas/Aindriú (Irish)
  • Andrejs (Latvian)
  • Andriejus/Andrius (Lithuanian)
  • Andrija/Indri (Maltese)
  • Anaru (Maori)
  • Dreesi (Old Swiss German: Basel dialect)
  • Andrzej/Jędrzej (Polish: latter is a very old form)
  • Drewes (Plattdeutsch)
  • Andrea/Andreia/Andri/Andrin/Andriu (Romansch)
  • Ándá/Ándaras/Ándde/Ánde (Saami)
  • Aindrea/Aindreas/Anndra (Scottish)
  • Ondrej (Slovak)
  • Andraž (Slovene)
  • Handrij (Sorbian)
  • Andalea (Swahili)
  • Andriy Андрiй (Ukrainian)
  • Andras (Welsh)

Belorusian diminutives are: Andros, Andruk and Andrus. Czech masculine diminutive forms are Andy, Ondra, Ondrášek, Ondrejko, Ondrík, Ondřejek and Ondříček. French diminutive forms are: Dédé, Ti-Dré, Andi, DéaAndy. A German diminutive form is Andy/Andi and English are Andi, Andie, Andy, Dre and Drew. A Hungarian diminutive is Bandi and Polish diminutive forms are Andrzejek, Jędrek and Jędruś. Scotch diminutive form is Dand.

Note: Andrea is a common feminine form in most European countries outside of Italy and Albania, particularly in Germany and the Anglo-phone world. Whether this is a borrowing from the Italian and was changed, or a coincidental evolution, is unknown. What is known is that Andrea has been used in England as a feminine form since the 17th-century.

Feminine forms are (listed alphabetically by linguistic origin)

  • Andere (Basque)
  • Andrea (Basque/Breton/English/German/Spanish)
  • Andriva/Andriveta (Bearnais/Occitanian)
  • Andersine (Danish)
  • Andrine (Danish/Norwegian)
  • Drine (Danish)
  • Dreesje (Dutch)
  • Andrée (French)
  • Aanasi/Aanarsi/Aanta/Aantariarsi (Greenlandic)
  • Andreina (Italian)
  • Andzeja/Ondzeja (Polish: obscure)
  • Andréia (Portuguese: Brazilian)
  • Andreia (Portuguese: European)
  • Andriano (Provencal)
  • Andreea (Romanian)
  • Andrina (Romansch)
  • Andrijana (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Andreja (Slovene)
  • Andrietta/Andriette (Swedish/Danish: very rare)

Czech diminutive forms are: Adrejka, Andruška, Andra, Rea. English diminutive forms are Andi, Andy, Annie and Drea.

Nicholas

Origin: Greek
Meaning: “victory of the people.”

Today is St. Nicholas Day! So, I thought, what a perfect opportunity to blog about the name Nicholas and all his myriad variations.

This is an update of a post I wrote three years ago in December. I thought I would rerun it with some updates.

The name is derived from the Greek, Νικόλαος, (Nikolaos), which is composed of the Greek words νικη (níkē), meaning, “victory” and λαὸς (laos), meaning, “people.” λαὸς (laos) could also derive from the Greek root word, λας (-las) as in “λα-τομεῑο“, which means, “stone” “rock”, as in Greek mythology it was believed that all humans were formed from the stones that Deucalion and Pyrrah threw over their shoulders as they were running.

In the post-Christian world, the name Nicholas was popularized through the cult of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in Lycia, (the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus). He was known for his acts of charity toward the poor, the most popular story being that he saved a local poor man’s daughters from lives of prostitution by dropping gold nuggets down the man’s chimney so that the man could pay for his debts instead of selling his daughters.

St. Nicholas is a very popular saint in both the Eastern and Western Churches.

The name was introduced into England in the form of Nicholas, though the sans H version has also its share of usage in the Anglophone world. Nicholas first came into usage in England around the 12th-century and remained common even through the period of the Reformation. Currently, Nicholas is the 42nd most popular male name for boys in the United States, (2011). His rankings in all his various forms in other countries are as follows:

  • # 1 (Nika/Nikoloz(i), Georgia, 2011)
  • # 3 (Nikola, Macedonia, 2006)
  • # 3 (Nikola, Serbia, 2011)
  • # 5 (Nikolay, Bulgaria, 2009)
  • # 5 (Nikolaos, Greece, 2010)
  • # 6 (Nicolás, Argentina, 2009)
  • # 9 (Nicolás, Columbia, 2011)
  • # 9 (Nicolás, Mexico, 2011)
  • # 15 (Nicholas/Nick/Nicholai/Nicoló, Malta, 2011)
  • # 16 (Mikołaj, Poland, 2009)
  • # 22 (Nicolò, Italy, 2010)
  • # 22 (Nicolas, Spain, 2010)
  • # 24 (Niklas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 27 (Nikola, Croatia, 2009)
  • # 29 (Nicolas, Belgium, 2008)
  • # 31 (Nikolaj, Denmark, 2011)
  • # 36 (Australia, NSW, 2011)
  • # 36 (Canada, BC, 2010)
  • # 45 (Nikolai, Norway, 2011)
  • # 51 (Nicolas, Catalonia, 2010)
  • # 56 (Nicolas, Austria, 2010)
  • # 69 (Nicolas, France, 2010)
  • # 72 (Miklós, Hungary, 2011)
  • # 75 (New Zealand, 2010)
  • # 82 (Nikola, Slovenia, 2010)
  • # 93 (Niklas, Norway, 2011)
  • # 94 (Nikola, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2010)
  • # 168 (Nicolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 181 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 332 (Nicolaas, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 451 (Nicolas, Netherlands, 2011)
  • # 473 (Nikolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 550 (Nickolas, United States, 2011)
  • # 639 (Nikolai, United States, 2011)

Other forms of the name include the following, (divided alphabetically by linguistic origin):

Latinate Forms
Variations used in Latin languages

  • Micolau (Catalan)
  • Nicolau (Catalan/Galician/Occitanian/Portuguese)
  • Niculaiu (Corsican)
  • Nicoty (Brusseler: a French dialect)
  • Colin (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name, not to be confused with the Celtic Colin/Collin which has a completely different etymology and pronunciation)
  • Nicolas/Nico (French: diminutive forms are Colas, Coliche, Colineau, Coya, Koni, Nic, Nico and Nikko)
  • Coletto/Colino (Italian: obscure)
  • Niccola/Nicola (Italian: Cola is a diminutive form)
  • Nicolai (Italian)
  • Nicolao (Italian)
  • Niccolò/Niccolo/Nicolò (Italian)
  • Nicoletto (Italian: obscure)
  • Niccolino/Nicolino (Italian: obscure)
  • Nico (Italian/Romanian/Spanish: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Nicolás/Colás (Leonese)
  • Nicu (Leonese/Romanian: originally diminutive forms, used as independent given names)
  • Nicolaus (Late Latin)
  • Nicolinus (Late Latin)
  • Neculai/Nicolae/Niculae (Romanian: diminutive form is Nicoară)
  • Nicușor (Romanian: originally a diminutive form, used as an independent given name)
  • Clà/Clau (Romansch)
  • Niclà/Nicolà/Niculin (Romansch)
  • Nigola (Sardinian)
  • Nicolao/Nicolás (Spanish)

Feminine forms ares

  • Nicolaua (Catalan)
  • Colette (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name)
  • Coline (French: originally a diminutive form, now used exclusively as an independent given name. The name also coincides with the French word for hill. Diminutive form is Colinette)
  • Nicole (French)
  • Nicolette (French: originally a diminutive form of Nicole, now exclusively used as an independent given name)
  • Nicoline (French)
  • Nicolasa (Galician/Spanish)
  • Nicoletta (Italian)
  • Nicolina (Italian)
  • Nicoleta (Romanian)
  • Nicolina/Niculina (Romanian)
  • Nicoleta/Nicolá (Spanish)

Germanic Forms
Variations used in Germanic based languages

  • Nikolaus (Afrikaans/Old Dutch)
  • Claus/Klaus/Niels (Danish: originally diminutive forms but used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nicolai/Nikolaus/Nikolaj (Danish)
  • Nilaus/Nis (Danish)
  • Nicolaas/Nikolaas (Dutch)
  • Klaas/Nico/Niek/Niels (Dutch: Originally diminutive forms but have been used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nicholas/Nicolas (English: diminutive forms include: Cole, Nat, Nick and Nicky)
  • Niklas/Niklái (Faroese)
  • Niklaas (Flemmish)
  • Klaas/Klaes (Frisian)
  • Nickel/Nickels (Frisian)
  • Claus/Claas/Klaas/Klaus/Klas (German: originally diminutive forms but have been used as independent given names for centuries)
  • Nickolaus/Nicolas/Nicolaus/ Niklaus/Nikolaus/Niklas (German)
  • Nico/Niko (German)
  • Neikaulaus (Gothic)
  • Néckel/Kleeschen/Klos (Lexumburgish)
  • Klaos (Limburgish)
  • Nikolaas/Nicolaas (Low Saxon)
  • Nicolai/Nikolai (Norwegian)
  • Niels (Norwegian)
  • Nickel (Plattdeutsch)
  • Michlaus (Swabian)
  • Niclas/Nicklas/Niklas (Swedish)
  • Nels/Nils (Swedish)
  • Klas/Claes (Swedish)
  • Chlaus/Glaus (Swiss-German)

Germanic feminine forms are:

  • Nikoline (Danish)
  • Klasina/Klazina (Dutch)
  • Nicole (Dutch/English/German: a borrowing from the French, very popular in the 1980s in German-speaking countries, English-speaking countries, as well as in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. In 1980, Nicole was the 7th most popular female name in the United States)
  • Nicolet (Dutch: a bastardization of the French, Nicolette)
  • Nicolien/Nicoline (Dutch)
  • Nicola/Nichola (English: a name that was particularly popular in Great Britain in the 70s and 80s, not to be confused with the masculine versions which are separate evolutions. This is pronounced NIK-uh-lah, and is most likely a feminization of the Scottish Nichol)
  • Nikolina (Faroese)
  • Nikólína (Icelandic)

Slavic Forms
Forms used in Slavonic languages

  • Mikalai Мікалай (Belarusian)
  • Nikola(y)/Niklen Никола/Николай/Никлен (Bulgarian: diminutive forms are: Kole, Kolyo, Kolyu and Nikùlitza).
  • Nikola/Niko (Croatian: Nikša and Nikica are diminutive forms)
  • Mikoláš/Mikuláš (Czech: short form is Mikula )
  • Nikola (Macedonian: diminutive forms are Kole and Nikolče nee-KOL-che)
  • Mikołaj (Polish: diminutive forms are Kola, Mikcio, Mik, Mikołajek, Miki, Miko, Mikoś, Mikuś, Misza, Nicz, Niki and Niko)
  • Nikolai Николай (Russian: Kolya and Nikita are diminutive forms)
  • Nikola Никола (Serbian)
  • Mikoláš/Mikuláš (Slovakian)
  • Nikolas (Slovakian)
  • Nikita (Slovakian: a borrowing from the Russian, sometimes used as an independent given name in Slovakia)
  • Miklavž/Niko/Nikolaj (Slovene)
  • Mikławš/Klaws (Sorbian)
  • Mykola Микола/Mykolai Миколай (Ukrainian)

Feminine forms are:

  • Nikoleta/Nikolina Николина/Николета (Bulgarian)
  • Nikolina/Nika/Nina (Croatian)
  • Nikoleta (Czech/Polish/Slovakian)
  • Nikola (Czech/Polish/Slovakian: currently very popular in all three countries)
  • Nikol (Czech/Polish: a corruption of the French, Nicole, and is a relatively recent form in the Czech Republic and Poland and is also rapidly increasing in popularity)
  • Nikolina (Czech/Polish)
  • Mikuláška (Slovakian: obscure)
  • Nika/Nikolaja (Slovene)

Celtic Forms
Forms used in Celtic Countries

  • Nikolaz/Nikolazig (Breton)
  • Nikolas (Cornish)
  • Cóilín (Irish)
  • Nicolás/Nioclás (Irish)
  • Neacel/Nichol/Nicol (Scottish)
  • Niclas (Welsh)

Baltic Forms
Forms used in the Baltic

  • Klaus/Laas/Laus (Estonian)
  • Nigol/Nigulas/Nigul (Estonian)
  • Niilas/Niilo/Niilu (Estonian)
  • Niklas/Nikolai/Niko (Estonian)
  • Nikita (Estonian: a borrowing from the Russian, occasionally used as an independent given name)
  • Nil/Nillo/Nilo/Nils/Nilus (Estonian)
  • Launo/Niilo/Niklas/Niko (Finnish)
  • Nikolajs/Niks/Nils (Latvian)
  • Klavs/Niklavs (Latvian)
  • Mikalojus/Mikas/Nikalojus (Lithuanian)
  • Miklay Миклай (Mari)
  • Mikuk Микук (Mari)
  • Mikus Микуш (Mari)
  • Nibá (Saami)
  • Nigá/Nigo (Saami)
  • Nihkke/Nihkko (Saami)
  • Niillas/Nilá/Nillá/Nilsa (Saami)

Feminine forms are:

  • Nikolė (Lithuanian)
  • Nikoleta/Nikoletė (Lithuanian)

Other Forms
Forms used in other languages

  • Nikolla/Nikollë/Koll/Kol (Albanian)
  • Nikolas ኒኮላስ (Amharic/Ethiopian)
  • Nikoghayos Նիկողայոս/Nikoghos o Նիկողոս (Armenian)
  • Nikola (Basque)
  • Mikulay/Mikuҫ Микулай, Микуҫ (Chuvash)
  • Nikolaus/Niqwela/Niqewlawes نيقولاوس (Coptic/Lebanese/Syriac)
  • Niko (Fijian)
  • Nikoloz ნიკოლოზ (Georgian)
  • Nikolaos Νικόλαος/Nikolas Νικόλας/Nikos Νίκος /Nikolis Νικολής (Greek Modern)
  • Niilsi/Niisi (Greenlandic)
  • Nikku/Nikkulaat (Greenlandic)
  • Miklós/Nikola (Hungarian)
  • Nikku/ Nikkii/Nikorasu (Japanese)
  • Nikola (Maltese)

Feminine forms are as follows:

  • Níkē Νίκη/Nikoléta Νικολέτα/Νikolína Νικολίνα (Greek: modern)
  • Nikkuliina/Nikkuliit (Greenlandic)
  • Nikolett (Hungarian)

Sami

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Arabic سامي
Meaning: “high; elevated; supreme.”
(SAH-mee)

The name is derived from the Arabic meaning, “high; elevated; supreme.”

However, it could also be a Finnish short form of Samuel. In Finland, it has often been used as an independent given name and in recent years is most likely used in reference to the language and ethnic group which is found in Finland, Norway and Russia, perhaps among people of Sami heritage. Sami is also the name of a lake in Finland.

As of 2009, Sami was the 183rd most popular male name in France while in 2010 he came in as the 193rd most popular male name in the Netherlands.

A feminine form of the Arabic is Samia.

Otto

Gender: Masculine
Origin: German
Meaning: “wealth; riches.”
(OT-to)

The name is derived from the early Germanic Audo. It seems like the quintessential German name, but has been out of favor in German speaking countries until recently, where it seems to be experiencing a revival. The name was borne by four Germanic kings. The first being Otto I, (also known as Otto the Great), the first Holy Roman Emperor. It was also borne by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).

To American ears, it might sound a bit quirky, but to hipsters, he might just make the perfect brother to little Gunnar or Atticus. Otto exhibits a certain quality of strength. It wouldn’t be bad to give him a chance, at least as a middle name. Otto has not ranked in the US top 1000 since 1974, when he came in at a measly #969. The highest he has seemed to rank in American history was in 1909, when he came in at a decently high #144. No doubt due to a large influx of German and Swedish immigrants at the time.

In Germany, he hasn’t made it to the top 500 as of yet, but I am happily able to report that, recently, while browing through some German birth announcement from Berlin, I was happy to see a few newborn Ottos, either as their first name or middle name.

Update: As of 2011, Otto was the 30th most popular male name in Finland and in 2010, he was the 92nd most popular male name in Sweden.

In Germany and Austria, his designated name day is September 7th. Similar variations include Otmar which means “possesing of fame” and Ottokar meaning “wealthy and vigilant.” If Otto feels too short for you, then you might want to consider Otmar or Ottokar as a formal version.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Ot (Catalan)
  • Ota (Czech)
  • Oto (Czech/Slovak)
  • Otto (Dutch/Estonian/Faroese/Finnish/Frisian/German/Polish/Romansch/Sami/Scandinavian)
  • Ode (English)
  • Eudes (French)
  • Odilon (French/Portuguese)
  • Odon (French/German)
  • Odo (German)
  • Udo (German)
  • Ortu (Greenlandic)
  • Ottó (Hungarian/Icelandic)
  • Oddo (Italian)
  • Ottone (Italian)
  • Ottorino (Italian)
  • Rino (Italian)
  • Audo (Old High German)
  • Odo (Old High German)
  • Otton (Polish)
  • Otte (Scandinavian)
  • Oton (Slovene/Spanish)

A common Czech diminutive form is Otik.

Feminine forms are so numerous that I shall save those for a separate entry, stay tuned 🙂

Aapo

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Finnish/Estonian
(AAH-poh)

The name was originally a contracted form of several different names, including Abraham, Aaron, Abel, Arne, and even Amos. It now used exclusively as an independent given name.

As of 2011, Aapo was the 28th most popular male name in Finland.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Aapa (Finnish)
  • Aape (Finnish)
  • Ape (Finnish)
  • Áppá (Sami)
  • Áppo (Sami)

Väinö

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Finnish/Estonian
Meaning: “wide”

The name is most likely a contraction of Väinämöinen, which is most likely derived from the name of a river, which in itself is derived from a Finnic element, väinä, meaning, “wide”.

In Finnish and Estonian mythology, Väinämöinen, (or Vanemuine in Estonian), was a god-like figure who possessed a magical voice and loved to play on his Finnish harp.

He plays a central and integral part in the Kalevala and in the Estonian epic, the Kalevipoeg.

In both Finland and Estonia, Väinämöinen and Vanemuine are rarely used as given names, but its abbreviated forms are fairly common .

As of 2011, Väinö was the 23rd most popular male name in Finland.

Another Finnish form is Väinämö, its diminutive forms are: Väiski, Väiskä, Vänni, Vänski, Väntti/Väntty, Vänttä, Vänä and Väpä.

Other forms include:

  • Väino (Estonian)
  • Väinu (Estonian)
  • Veaidnu (Sami)
  • Vejne (Swedish)

The designated name-day in both Finland and Estonia is February 17.

Sources

  1. http://www.behindthename.com/name/va12ina12mo12inen
  2. http://www.nordicnames.de/wiki/Väinämöinen
  3. Turunen, Aimo (1981). Kalevalan sanat ja niiden taustat. Karjalaisen kulttuurin edistämissäätiö
  4. Toim. Maarti Kaimio, Paavo Castren, Jorma Kaimio: Antiikin myytit ja uskonnot (2007)
  5. Martti Haavio: Väinämöinen (1950)

Eino

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Finnish
(AY-noh)

The name is a contracted from of any name beginning with, ein.

As of 2011, this was the 12th most popular male name in Finland.

Other forms of the name include:

  • Eeno (Finnish)
  • Eitsu (Finnish)
  • Ejno (Finnish)
  • Eine (Norwegian/Swedish)
  • Eidno (Sami)

Feminine forms include Eini and Einikki.

Gertrude

James C. Christensen

Gender: Feminine
Origin: German
Meaning: “spear strength.”
Eng (GER-trood); Ger (ger-TROO-də)

She has adorable nickname options; Trudy, among others. She has a similar feel to other current vintage trend-setters such as Matilda and Eleanor, yet Gertrude, for the most part remains unloved. Like Hildegard and Brynhild, this is one of those names where I often ask myself: why not?

She is strong, vintagy and no-frills, as mentioned before, she has tons of adorable nickname options. Is she really anymore grandmotherly or old sounding than Emma, Eleanor, Matilda or even Abigail? We have gotten used to hearing these names but I remember a time when the above names were considered “too old” until it took one famous person to use them and voila, they are automatically endearing and trendy.

Ok, I’ll get off my high horse and get onto the what the name is really all about.

Portrait of Gurtruydt van Leyden.
by James C. Christensen via http://www.greenwichworkshop.com/saintsandangels/17.htm

Gertrude is composed of the Germanic roots, ger (spear) and þruþ (strength).

The name was borne by several illustrious medieval women, two of whom are saints. Gertrude of Nivelles (626-659) is revered as the patron saint of cats! I am not quite sure how she came to be known as a feline patron, but she was the daughter of Pepin I and was supposed to be married off at the age of ten, but steadfastly refused, insisting that she would only marry Christ. After the death of her father, her wealthy mother constructed Gertrude her very own convent, making her the abbess. She is also invoked against mice and rat infestations.

Another Gertrude is Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) a German nun, mystic and great theologian of her time.

The name has been borne by German and Dutch royalty alike.

Gertrude is pretty well-known in the English-speaking world, but actually never experienced much usage. It was introduced into England in the 15th-century by Dutch settlers, where it was ocassionally used. It appears in Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1600) as the name of the hero’s mother.  It was used sparingly in the United States at the beginning of the 20th-century, possibly being introduced by German immigrants. The highest it ever ranked was in 1898 coming in as the 573rd most popular female name.

In the United States, its most famous bearer is Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), famous writer and poet.

As of 2011, her Finnish form of Kerttu was the 20th most popular female name in Finland and Geertruida came in as the 491st most popular female name in the Netherlands, (2010). Meanwhile, its Dutch diminutive offshoot of Geertje is the 368th most popular female name in the Netherlands, (2010).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Gartred (Cornish)
  • Gertruda (Croatian/Czech/Lithuanian/Polish/Romansch/Slovene)
  • Geerdina (Dutch)
  • Geertje (Dutch)
  • Ge(e)rtruida (Dutch)
  • Geertrui (Dutch)
  • Gertrude (Dutch/English/French/German/Italian/Platdeutch)
  • Trudy (Dutch/English/German)
  • Truus (Dutch)
  • Kelli (Estonian)
  • Kertu (Estonian)
  • Kärt (Estonian)
  • Ge(i)rtrúð (Faroese)
  • Gortra (Faroese)
  • Jertru (Finnish)
  • Jerttu (Finnish)
  • Järtty (Finnish)
  • Kerttu (Finnish)
  • Kerttuli (Finnish)
  • Gesa (Frisian)
  • Gesche (Frisian/Platdeutsch)
  • Geesche (Frisian)
  • Gesina (Frisian)
  • Gerta (German)
  • Gertraud (German)
  • Gertrud (German/Scandinavian/Romansch)
  • Gertrúd (Hungarian)
  • Jerta (Hungarian)
  • Geirþrúður (Icelandic)
  • Jarþrúður (Icelandic)
  • Geltrude (Italian)
  • Gertrūda (Latvian)
  • Gjertrud (Norwegian)
  • Jartrud (Norwegian)
  • Geretrudis (Old High German)
  • Geirþrúðr (Old Norse)
  • Jarþrúðr (Old Norse)
  • Gertrudes (Portuguese)
  • Gearte (Sami)
  • Kearte (Sami)
  • Gertrúda (Slovak)
  • Trudla (Sorbian)
  • Gertrudis (Spanish)
  • Gardrud (Swedish)
  • Gertru(n) (Swedish)
  • Hjertrud (Swedish)

Common German and English short forms are Gertie and Trudi/Trudy.

Artwork

Vera

Gender: Feminine
Origin: Slavic Вера
Meaning: “faith.”
Eng (VARE-uh; VEER-uh); Rus (VYEH-rah)

The name is most likely a borrowing from the Russian female name, Vera, which comes directly from the Slavic meaning, “faith.” Initially, it was a Russian-Orthodox cognate of the Greek female name, Pistis (Faith), the name of an early Christian saint and martyr.

The name has been used outside of Eastern Europe since at least the 19th-century. It is unclear how the name caught on in the English-speaking world, but by the time of its popularity the name was usually associated with the Latin, verus, (true), verses, the Slavic, (hope).

Its usage in Albania may also be connected with the Albanian word, verë, (Summer).

The name is borne by several famous Russian women, including silent film actress, Vera Kholodnaya (1893-1919) and theatre actress, Vera Komissarzhevskaya (1864-1910); Chemist, Vera Popova (1867-1896).

Other notable bearers include: English writer and feminist, Vera Brittain (1893-1970); Ukrainian-American actress, Vera Farmiga (b.1973); American actress, Vera Miles (b.1929); American fashion designer, Vera Neumann (b.1907) and American fashion designer, Vera Wang (b.1949).

The highest the name ranked in the United States was in 1919 when she came in as the 65th most popular female name; its popularity may have had something to do with Vera Kholodnaya who died the same year, but this is only my personal conjecture.

As of 2010, Vera is the 675th most popular female name in the United States. Her rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 13 (Veera, Finland, 2011)
  • # 39 (Sweden, 2010)
  • # 45 (the Netherlands)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Vera Вера (Albanian/Bulgarian/Croatian/Dutch/English/Faroese/German/Hungarian/Icelandic/Italian/Latvian/Lithuanian/Macedonian/Portuguese/Russian/Scandinavian/Serbian/Slovene)
  • Věra (Czech)
  • Veera (Estonian/Finnish)
  • Véra (French)
  • Verina (Italian)
  • Verutė (Lithuanian)
  • Wiara (Polish)
  • Wiera (Polish)
  • Verá (Sami)
  • Viera (Slovak)
  • Wera (Swedish)
  • Vira Віра (Ukrainian)

Diminutive forms include:

  • Verica (Czech/Serbian)
  • Verika (Czech)
  • Verochka (Russian)
  • Verunka (Czech)
  • Verusha (Russian)
  • Vierunka (Czech)
  • Vieruška (Czech)
  • Věrka (Czech)
  • Věruna (Czech)
An obscure Latin masculine form is Verus.